New City Advocate for 5th Avenue

The city has gained an advocate in the 5th Avenue Redevelopment project.

S.B. Friedman Development Advisors will act as third party counsel for the city during negotiations with the site’s developer, Ryan Companies.

According to the agreement, Friedman will assist the city by “providing the city analytical, strategic, and financial consulting services in support of the redevelopment” among many other services.

“We need somebody who does this for a living. We don’t we’re not experts at that,” said Mayor Steve Chirico. “So they’re going to be a really important partner in making sure we get the best deal as a city that we can get.”

Council unanimously approved hiring Friedman for $100,000 with a 10 percent contingency, though City Attorney Michael DiSanto said the agreement could be renegotiated to a value-based contract down the road.

Council also voted unanimously for Ryan Companies to remain in Phase I of their concept creation process for the 5th Avenue project.

“The difference between Stage I and Stage II is tremendous,” said Councilman John Krummen. “That’s where everyone is together and we’re rowing in one direction. We are nowhere near that.”

This is the second time Ryan Companies requested to move to Phase II – Concept Refinement, after council also voted to delay the transition at its September 18 meeting.

The current concerns from council and the public are largely the same as at that meeting: parking and a location for the DuPage Children’s Museum.

“Before Phase II begins, a suitable Phase I concept should be created and publicly reviewed,” said Naperville resident Marilyn Schweitzer. “That concept should include council’s direction on the DuPage Children’s Museum, council’s direction on commuter parking, recommendations by SB Friedman should they be approved as a third party advocate, and serious consideration received to date.”

Neither of Ryan Companies’ two initial concepts include any additional commuter parking even though the current wait list for spots is estimated at 14 years long.

City staff said they are working to figure out how many parking spots need to be added to significantly reduce the waiting time for commuter parking. That information will be presented at a November city council meeting.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.

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